Blue Jays-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

Their worst start in nine years wasn't exactly what the Toronto Blue Jays hoped for when they overhauled their roster in the offseason.

One of those new acquisitions will try to help the Blue Jays turn things around when they continue a three-game road series against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.

Mark Buehrle takes the mound for his second start with Toronto, which at 2-5 is off to its worst start since 2004, when the Blue Jays opened 2-6 en route to a 67-94 record - their worst since 1995.

Buehrle (0-0, 10.13 ERA) is one of several players Toronto acquired to bolster its chances of making the playoffs, but he struggled in his Blue Jays debut. The left-hander gave up six runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings as Toronto beat Cleveland 10-8 on Thursday.

That victory was one of the few highlights for the Blue Jays, who lost 7-4 to the Tigers (4-3) in the series opener Tuesday.

"It's only seven games, but in August or September we're playing like this, it's kind of hard to believe," said shortstop Jose Reyes, acquired along with Buehrle from Miami. "We're not relaxing at all. We're disappointed in the way we've played."

Toronto has had problems in all aspects of the game. The team is batting .223 while allowing 5.67 runs per game, the highest total in the AL.

"It's still early. But if you're going to win at this level, you've got to play good baseball," manager John Gibbons said.

Perhaps Buehrle can help the Blue Jays get on track. He is quite familiar with the Tigers from his days with the White Sox, going 18-10 with a 3.36 ERA in 33 starts.

He'll likely need to continue his mastery of Miguel Cabrera to keep the Tigers at bay. Cabrera is batting .231 with no home runs in 26 at-bats against Buehrle.

However, Cabrera is off to another hot start. He hit his first home run and had four hits and three RBIs on Tuesday. Cabrera is batting .393 and already has 10 RBIs coming off his Triple Crown performance last year.

"He's the best right-handed hitter I've ever seen," said Tigers newcomer Torii Hunter, who got his 2,000th career hit in the victory. "I've only been here 15-16 years in the major leagues, but I tell you, this guy's probably one of the best right-handed hitters I've ever seen. (Albert) Pujols is pretty good, saw him the last decade or so, but Cabrera is the best hitter I've ever seen."

Cabrera's home run, the ninth of his career against Toronto, was an opposite-field shot.

"I've been on record pretty much for the last five years. To me, he's pretty much the best opposite-field home run hitter probably in the history of the game," manager Jim Leyland said.

Detroit, which has won three of four, sends Rick Porcello (0-1, 5.06) to the mound. He allowed three runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings of an 8-2 loss to Minnesota on Thursday.

The right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts against the Blue Jays. He allowed five runs and six hits over six innings in an 8-3 loss at Toronto on July 27.

The Tigers have won five straight overall in this series, and the Blue Jays have also dropped five in a row in Detroit.

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